In January 2024, Master of Landscape Architecture student Allyson Gibson participated in an externship program through the University of Virginia that brought her to Biohabitats for a week of professional experience. While shorter than a traditional internship, an externship can provide some quick insight into what it’s like to work in your chosen field.

Extern Allyson Gibson, Water Resources Engineer Sarah Emrich, and Senior Landscape Architect Jim Cooper visit the Towson Run Stream Restoration project site.

What brought you to Biohabitats for your externship?

I wanted to come to Biohabitats for my externship because of the interdisciplinary work here. The collaboration between ecologists, engineers, and landscape architects within one firm is a novel framework, and I wanted to learn about the benefits and challenges from the Biohabitats team. The ecologically focused designs and consultations were also a big draw for me. I want to work on designs and management plans that put ecological functions on the same level as human priorities. Biohabitats is the gold standard for these types of designs, and I wanted to learn from the best.

What have you gained from your time with Biohabitats?

The biggest thing I will take away from my externship is the commitment I saw from every single team member to building a welcoming and supportive culture. The level of communication, professionalism, and care everyone gave to their projects and relationships in the office was tremendous. I hope to emulate this as I move through my career.

Allyson completing bank pin installation as part of the Long Branch Watershed Implementation Work Plan.

Was there anything surprising or unexpected that you learned?

I was able to sit in on the first office-wide meeting of the year, which also coincidentally was the first meeting as a Perpetual Trust. It was really great to witness this shift and hear about the reasons for the change.

Do you have a favorite ecosystem, plant, or animal? If so, tell us why it is your favorite.

Currently, I’m very interested in urban canopy and forests and how land conservation practices have and will impact these trees. My favorite tree (of course always changing!) is the White Oak, Quercus alba.

Environmental Scientist Austin Vong and Allyson at the Long Branch project site.

Thank you Allyson, we can’t wait to see where your career path takes you!

Further Reading

Meet Water Resources Engineer Kayla Brown
New Mexico Must Become a Catcher of Rain
Ripple Effects
Get to know Water Resources Engineer Jake Radeff
Meet Conservation Biologist Nolan Schillerstrom

More From This Author

Get to Know Water Resources Engineer Sydney Salzwedel
Get to know Cullen Simon, Mechanical Engineer
Meet Water Resources Engineer Emily Beacham
Get to Know Ecologist Caroline Hildebrand
Ripple Effects